PHT Morning Skate: Jiri Hudler scored an incredibly embarrassing own goal

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–Wild captain Mikko Koivu wrote an excellent piece about his journey to North America. When he came over from Finland, Koivu said he was expecting to play for the Wild right away, but because of the 2005 lockout, he was assigned to AHL Houston, which he wasn’t exactly thrilled about it at first. Over time, he got to appreciate what the minors had to offer. “I was scared about going to Houston, to be honest. I didn’t really think Texas was a hockey market. I had no idea what to expect. Looking back, the coaching staff there really shaped my career. Todd McLellan was in charge at the time. His influence on me, not only as a player, but also as a person, has been invaluable.” (The Players’ Tribune)

–The New England Patriots have been one of the elite teams in the NFL for the better part of two decades. On Sunday, they won their fifth championship in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. Football and hockey may be two completely different sports, but writer Sean McIndoe believes there are lessons that NHL teams can pull from New England’s success. (The Hockey News)

–When you think of the Edmonton Oilers, the first thing that usually comes to mind is Connor McDavid. But as TSN’s Travis Yost points out, you should also associate them with the word “resilient” because of their ability to overcome deficits. Edmonton have a goal differential of +21 when they’re trailing in a game. That’s the best in the NHL. (TSN)

–The New York Islanders just keep on rolling under interim head coach Doug Weight. On Thursday, they took down the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-1, and they closed the gap between themselves and a Wild Card spot to just two points. You can watch the highlights from last night’s game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Sportsnet’s Andrew Berkshire analyzed the play of every Canadian team’s first line. After his evaluation, he came to the conclusion that the trio of Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl is the top one in the country. What makes them so good? Well for starters, McDavid, but it goes beyond that. Their shot quality is spot on, they always have the puck, they rarely turn it over and each member of the line is capable of scoring goals. (Sportsnet)

–On January 2, 1918, the Montreal Canadiens were supposed to take on the Montreal Wanderers at Westmount Arena. The game never ended up taking place because of a huge fire that occurred just a few hours before puck-drop. Both teams lost their uniforms and stick in the blaze. That fire quickly led to the demise of the Wanderers franchise. (Sports Illustrated).

–To say that things haven’t been going well for Dallas would be an understatement. Their coach, Lindy Ruff, is clearly on the hot seat, and that definitely didn’t change after Thursday’s loss to Ottawa. Not only did the Stars lose the game, but to make matters worse, Jiri Hudler scored an incredibly embarrassing goal into his own net. Yikes!

 

‘I wasn’t good enough,’ says Lundqvist after double OT loss to Senators

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The task wasn’t impossible, but certainly daunting.

The Ottawa Senators needed five goals on Henrik Lundqvist just to send Game 2 into overtime.

The Rangers goalie had been spectacular for most of this post-season entering Saturday’s contest, but the Senators, led by a sensational four-goal performance from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, found a way to break through for a 6-5 double overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead against New York.

They did so on just 34 shots through almost 83 minutes against Lundqvist.

“I wasn’t good enough,” said Lundqvist, per the New York Daily News. “Coming up with the extra save there in the end, that’s my job. Even though it’s tough plays on deflections, I’ve got to find a way.”

On three occasions, the Rangers held a two-goal lead. That includes with under five minutes remaining in regulation. They even had a pair of shorthanded goals. But they couldn’t hang on, as Pageau scored twice in the final 3:19 of regulation to record his hat trick.

That set the stage for the eventual winner, as he beat Lundqvist over the left shoulder with a shot from his off-wing on a two-on-one rush.

With the Senators in control, the series returns to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Thursday.

“We played well enough to win this game, there’s no question about it,” said Lundqvist. “It’s really tough to lose this one. Clearly they’ve gotten the bounces here in the first two games.”

Capitals’ Holtby begins third period on the bench, Grubauer takes over in net

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Braden Holtby began the third period of Saturday’s Game 2 on the bench, giving way to Philipp Grubauer.

The Washington Capitals fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 after two periods, with Holtby allowing three goals on just 14 shots. It will be interesting to hear the reason for this decision from coach Barry Trotz following the game.

The Capitals had dominated on the shot clock, but gave up a pair of quick goals to fall further behind Pittsburgh in this game, while trailing in the series 1-0.

Phil Kessel — on a great play from Sidney Crosby — and Jake Guentzel scored 3:10 apart to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead.

Penguins’ Hornqvist hurt after blocking shot vs. Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have had to shuffle their forward combinations in the second period, after Patric Hornqvist was hurt blocking a shot in the first period of Game 2 versus the Capitals.

The Penguins forward was in obvious pain after taking a shot right around the ankle, which is a concerning development for Pittsburgh.

Per reports, he didn’t re-join the Penguins at the bench when the second period began.

Hornqvist can be a frustrating player to go up against, and he’s productive, too, with two goals and five points in six playoff games prior to Saturday.

Moving on up: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery, secure No. 1 overall pick

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The New Jersey Devils entered the Draft Lottery with an 8.5 per cent chance of winning it. They will leave with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.

The Devils finished the regular season with just 70 points, tied with Arizona for the third fewest in the overall standings. They’ve also had plenty of difficulty scoring goals in recent years, and this provides them with an opportunity to land a player — forwards Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are expected to be the top two players selected in June — that can help remedy that.

It’s become quite a close race between the two heading into the draft, which goes June 23-24 in Chicago.

From Bob McKenzie of TSN:

For TSN’s Draft Lottery edition, five scouts ranked the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Patrick No. 1; five scouts ranked the 6-foot-1, 176-pound Hischier No. 1. The Swiss pivot has closed the gap with his dynamic play, which came at a time when Patrick’s injury-riddled season was ended prematurely by an upper-body ailment that wasn’t related to the groin/abdominal issues that plagued him for the first half of the season.

While the Devils emerged as the overall winners, the Philadelphia Flyers had an enormous rise up the board. So, too, did the Dallas Stars.

The Flyers had just a 2.2 per cent chance of winning the lottery, yet they moved all the way up into the No. 2 selection spot when it was over. The Stars, with a 5.8 per cent chance of winning the lottery, also had a good day, moving up into the No. 3 overall spot.

Here is the 2017 draft order:

  1. New Jersey Devils
  2. Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Dallas Stars
  4. Colorado Avalanche
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Vegas Golden Knights
  7. Arizona Coyotes
  8. Buffalo Sabres
  9. Detroit Red Wings
  10. Florida Panthers
  11. L.A. Kings
  12. Carolina Hurricanes
  13. Winnipeg Jets
  14. Tampa Bay Lightning
  15. New York Islanders

As you see, there were a few other key developments in this lottery.

Vegas was given a 10.3 per cent chance at winning the top pick — the same odds given to the 28th place team — however, the Golden Knights will pick sixth overall. The Colorado Avalanche, which finished with a miserable 48 points and had the best odds to win lottery, now pick fourth overall.

And once again, the Canucks endured more disappointment at the lottery.

Last year, they dropped two spots, from third to fifth. Needing an impact forward in order to help kickstart their rebuild, they dropped three spots, from No. 2 to No. 5 overall, on Saturday.

Related: Report: Devils GM plans to reach out to Kovalchuk’s agent next week